SUDBURY -- Sudbury CAO Ed Archer appears to be in hot water over comments he made about a city councillor during a budget meeting Dec. 21.

The meeting was held virtually over Webex, and councillors were debating an amendment about federal funding in which Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier wanted the Whitson River Pedestrian Trail to be considered.

At the tail end of some questioning from Ward 12 Coun. Joscelyne Landry-Altmann and Ward 4 Coun. Geoff McCausland, viewers could see the chat box in the bottom right turn red.

In it was a message from Tony Cecutti, the general manager of infrastructure in which he says, "I'm exhausted, I'm not enjoying the discussion, either."

He then goes on in the chatbox to say, "Why, at this hour, are they asking so many questions?"

The message appears to have been a private one that was sent to everyone in the meeting and broadcast out to the city.

Greater Sudbury CAO Ed Archer then replied:

"They're tired, they're a little confused and mostly, I think they're reluctant to reject their peer despite the buffoonishness and hostility toward most of their intended outcomes."

Montpellier didn't see the comments and didn't hear about them until his phone rang the following morning. He's since received the paperwork and plans on filing an official complaint against Archer.

"Well I was upset, I'll be honest with you, I'm upset because one thing that anyone who's ever met me knows one thing that I do is I fight for the rights of our citizens," he said.

Archer apologized

"I saw an apology from Mr. Archer that basically said that he was sorry that he sent out this email to the public, that it was meant for internal, so what the man is saying is that it's OK to badmouth his bosses - that it's OK to have a conversation on why are they asking questions."

Montpellier was referring to an email Archer sent following the meeting to council in which he wrote:

"Please accept my apologies for inadvertently sharing messages with the whole group during tonight's meeting. What started as a private exchange regarding an agenda item with one of my staff became an exchange sent to the whole group. This was a mistake and I apologize for the error."

Cecutti followed up with a similar apology to council, writing:

"I would also like to extend my apologies. I sincerely hope that the private conversation between Mr. Archer and myself did not distract you from important conversations and deliberations in the meeting last night. It was unnecessary and inappropriate to share my conversation during the deliberations and I regret this mistake."

CTV News reached out to Archer through the city and was told that he was off this week and received the following response:

"This is a matter between a member of council and the CAO, and as such, would not be appropriate to discuss publicly. It is our standard policy not to comment on matters related to individual employees. While we understand the public interest, it is an internal matter that is already being discussed through the appropriate channels.'

While Cecutti's comments can still be seen on the city website, Archer's have now been redacted.

"I looked at it as condescending in their saying 'well they're confused,'" said Montpellier. "Of course I resent being called a hostile buffoon, but I also resent … staff and city employees questioning the right of councillors to ask questions."

Mayor Brian Bigger couldn't be reached for comment but his office told CTV News Bigger isn't commenting publicly on this yet as this is still a matter between the two individuals.

But CTV News has obtained a disciplinary letter from Bigger sent to Archer, in which Archer was suspended for one day for making the comments.

"I note that you instantly apologized for the comments and have sent a more detailed apology to council and senior staff in the time since the meeting," the letter said. "As a part of that apology you have undertaken to ensure such comments are not made in future. I believe and expect that will be the case.

"This letter serves as a one-day suspension in accordance with the city’s discipline policy ... which is to be served on the day following your current vacation. Any further comments of this nature will be subject to more progressive consequences according to the policy."